Thursday, December 27, 2012

Republicans: Their Own Worse Enemy on Healthcare

While much political focus has been on the so-called "fiscal cliff" which the GOP seems bound and determined to take the country over, within the nation's fiscal problems lies an issue that is driving much of the increased spending on what the GOP derisively calls entitlements: exploding healthcare costs.  Exploding healthcare costs that are driving up Medicare and Medicaid costs sharply.  But rather than address the real issue behind the growing budget deficit, the GOP as a party prefers to coddle big medicine and big pharmaceutical companies while treating millions of Americans as disposable trash.  And this from the political party that claims to embrace Christian values which ought to by any interpretation include caring for the poor and the sick.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the GOP's ass backwards behavior which defies common sense.  Or at least common sense among rational people.  Here are column excerpts:

Conservatives once genuinely interested in finding market-based ways for the government to expand health insurance coverage have, since the rise of Obamacare, made choices that are dysfunctional, even from their own perspective.

Start with the decision of the vast majority of Republican governors to refuse to set up the state insurance exchanges required under the law. The mechanisms would allow more than 20 million Americans to buy coverage. They were originally a conservative idea for large, trustworthy marketplaces where individuals and families could buy plans of their choice.

So, irony of ironies, in declining to set up state exchanges, conservative governors are undermining states’ rights and giving liberals something far closer to the national system they hoped for. As Robert Laszewski, an industry critic of Obamacare, told The Post’s N.C. Aizenman, conservative governors are engaging in “cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face” behavior.

This is one of many forms of conservative health-care unreason. The “fiscal cliff” debate has been distorted because the problems confronting federal finances are consistently misdescribed. We do not have “an entitlement problem.” We have a giant health-care cost problem. 

Our major non-military fiscal challenges lie in Medicare and Medicaid. In principle, conservatives should seek to find ways of holding down health-care inflation in both the private and public sectors.

The result is that conservatives would either let government get bigger, or they’d save money by throwing ever more risk onto individuals by undercutting core government guarantees.

Their most outrageous move was the big lie that the original health-care bill included “death panels.” This would have been laughable if it had not been so pernicious. The provision in question would simply have paid for consultations by terminally ill patients — if they wanted them — with their physicians on their best options for their care.

Is it any wonder that our fiscal politics are so dysfunctional? Yes, we liberals are very reluctant to cut access to various government health-insurance programs. With so many Americans still uninsured, we are wary of depriving more people of coverage. But we fully accept the need to contain government health spending.

Yet given the conservatives’ habit of walking away even from their own ideas (the exchanges, for example) and of rejecting progressive efforts to save money, is it any wonder that liberals suspect them of greater interest in dismantling programs than in making them more efficient? We won’t find genuine common ground on deficits until we resolve this dilemma.

The GOP has become a pack of rabid dogs that reject their own former ideas and seem Hell bent on destroying the nation's economy and throwing millions of Americans overboard.  All so that they can appease a shrinking group of insane Christofascists and Tea Party Neanderthals who comprise the party base.

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